DIKE 14, a manmade peninsula on Lake Erie, is located four miles east of downtown Cleveland next to GORDON PARK. One of many lakefront disposal sites created by the Army Corps of Engineers, the 88-acre parcel was built using sediment dredged out of Cleveland's harbor and the CUYAHOGA RIVER as the Corps went about maintaining local water routes. Dumping began at Dike 14 in 1979, and although it was scheduled to reach capacity in 1992, instead the containment walls were raised and the site remained operational for seven more years.
When Dike 14 was approved in the late 1970s, Cleveland city planners anticipated various uses for the completed fill, including the possibility of devoting the land to recreational areas. Its future application remained undecided, however, even after the Corps finished with the site in 1999. Although technically closed to the public, the unused and densely overgrown peninsula gained a reputation as a sanctuary for migratory birds, butterflies, mammals, and native plant species otherwise crowded out by shoreline development. The Ohio Audubon Society added Dike 14 to its list of Important Bird Areas in 2004, at which time deer, red fox, coyote, mink, and rabbits also had populated the area.
In 2005, a group of various Cleveland area wildlife organizations, including the CLEVELAND METROPARKS, the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association, and the Earth Day Coalition, formed the Dike 14 Environmental Education Collaborative, with the goal of securing the site as a permanent lakefront nature preserve. As of 2006, the city of Cleveland was planning to assume control of the tract from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority, and pending soil tests then underway by the Ohio EPA intended to create a park featuring wetlands, trails, and wildlife observation facilities.